Arsenal announced on Monday that it will join Chelsea for a series of preseason friendlies in the US in August. 

Arsenal will be based in Washington, DC from August 15th through August 26th. The Gunners are scheduled to play the Washington Spirit on August 18th, followed by a match with fellow WSL team Chelsea on August 25th. It’s the first time that the two London clubs will meet each other on this side of the Atlantic. 

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Chelsea had previously announced their game against Gotham FC, confirming reports from ESPN that surfaced last month.

"We always want to create the best conditions for our teams to prepare and perform at their best in pre-season," said Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar in a statement. "This gives our players an opportunity to play and train in a new environment, in front of our supporters around the world."

Both Arsenal and Chelsea tout rosters full of international talent — formidable opponents for two equally stacked NWSL teams gearing up for postseason action. Arsenal is home to accomplished England nationals Leah Williamson, Beth Mead, and backheel goal-scorer Alessia Russo alongside Ireland captain Katie McCabe and USWNT defender Emily Fox.

The games are set to be streamed live for free on DAZN.

Arsenal's US tour builds off of a trip to Melbourne, Australia at the tail end of the 2023/24 season, where they beat A-League All Stars women 1-0 in front of 42,120 fans.

Arsenal captain Leah Williamson is staying in North London, signing a new contract with the club while Barcelona’s Mariona Caldentey has also reportedly accepted the club's offer.

Williamson, who also captains the England women's national football team, has spent the entirety of her pro career at Arsenal, in addition to being a lifelong fan of the Gunners. The defender has made 232 appearances for the club since 2014, stating in a press release that she's "very happy to be staying."

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"Everyone knows what Arsenal means to me, but I think every time I sign a new contract, I feel that love ignite all over again," she said. "This is a place where I can still continue to grow, develop and be challenged."

Williamson last signed a new contract with Arsenal in 2022, before battling her way back from a season-ending ACL tear that kept her out of the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Arsenal teammate Stina Blackstenius has also re-signed with the club, while longtime striker Vivianne Miedema is set to depart

And the Gunners appear to have selected Miedema’s replacement, with Barcelona forward Mariona Caldentey reportedly joining the London side next season. The 28-year-old is set to announce the deal in the coming days, having previously been linked to the Washington Spirit. 

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Caldentey had been with Barcelona since 2014, making 194 appearances and scoring 70 goals with the Spanish club. She's fresh off of winning a third Champions League trophy with Barcelona, and is also coming off of a Women's World Cup win with Spain last summer.

While Barcelona appeared to have confirmed Caldentey's move Tuesday afternoon, Arsenal has yet to release an official statement.

Two of the WSL's biggest teams will cross the pond this summer, set to battle both each other and select NWSL teams in a series of Stateside club friendlies.

On Monday, the Blues confirmed their matchup against NJ/NY Gotham FC on August 19th, setting up a showdown between two league champions. It’ll be the first time that the English title-winners square off with the NWSL champs. 

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Longtime Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger recently joined Gotham FC, setting up an extra layer of intrigue ahead of the August 19th championship scuffle. 

It’s not Chelsea’s first time playing in the States. Back in August 2022, the Blues traveled to Portland to compete in that year's Women’s International Champions Cup.

ESPN reported on Saturday that fellow WSL contender Arsenal is scheduled to face the Washington Spirit in the same timeframe. To cap off their joint US tour, Arsenal will then take on the UK table-toppers at Audi Field in Washington DC.

Making things even more interesting, two of the teams featured in the club friendly series will have recently undergone coaching changes. The preseason matches could be a first look for Sonia Bompastor at Chelsea, as reports indicate that the Lyon manager will take over for incoming UWSNT coach Emma Hayes next season. (Chelsea is waiting until the conclusion of Champions League to make a formal announcement.) In the US, the Washington Spirit will be welcoming Jonatan Giráldez from Barcelona once he finishes his tenure with the Spanish club next month. 

This Saturday, Bompastor's Olympique Lyonnais Féminin will go up against Giráldez's FC Barcelona Femení in the 2024 UEFA Women's Champions League Final.

Emma Hayes is bowing out of the WSL in style, with Chelsea winning its fifth consecutive WSL title on Saturday.

The Blues needed a win over Manchester United on Saturday and they got one in true Chelsea fashion, beating United 6-0 to take the WSL crown. While the team tied Manchester City in points at 55 apiece, they beat City on goal differential, outscoring their northern opponents 53 to 46.

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The title is the team's fifth in a row and seventh under Hayes, who now departs Chelsea after 12 years as manager.

"I can't say it's my most enjoyable but it's definitely been the toughest, without doubt, and for that reason probably the sweetest," she told Sky Sports. "I'm just so relieved it's over. The hardest thing to do is five in a row because people take their eye off the ball. My legacy is winning while building a team for the future."

Midfielder Erin Cuthbert called the title the "hardest one yet" for Chelsea, but also the sweetest. A month ago, the team was virtually all but out of the title race, with Hayes conceding as much. Chelsea went on to right the ship, however, putting on a stunning eight goal performance against Bristol City to insert themselves back into the conversation.

"In the moments that really matter, we find a way," Cuthbert told BBC Sport. "We've never really backed down from a challenge. The fans have been with us from the start, they've been incredible this year.

"There have been a few rough moments, this title has taken about 10 years off my life if I'm being deadly honest. The hardest one yet, the sweetest one yet, so I'm going to enjoy tonight."

Hayes will now leave to manage the USWNT, telling BBC Sport on Saturday that the team and its fans will always in be in her heart.

"I don't think I have the words really. I am full with a ton of different emotions," she said. "I am ready, I have given everything I've got. [I am] ready for my next adventure."

Chelsea did what they needed to do on Wednesday in order to make Saturday's slate of season-ending WSL fixtures interesting: Beat Tottenham.

The Blues are now number one in the league, with an edge over Manchester City on goal differential thanks to an eight-goal outing against Bristol City last week. 

Yesterday's result tees up a league finale for the books as Chelsea looks to send coach Emma Hayes off with another trophy to add to her cabinet. The Blues will play FA Cup winner Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday, while City is away at Aston Villa.

"We will be leaving nothing on the pitch, we will be giving everything and no matter what the result is," Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert said after Wednesday's win. "At least we can look each other in the eye and say we gave everything."

It makes for a thrilling end to Chelsea's Emma Hayes era, as the decorated WSL coach will take over the USWNT in June. And it comes after Hayes all but conceded the title race early this month after Chelsea fell to Liverpool 4-3.

"I think the title is done," Hayes said at the time. "Of course, mathematically, it's not, but I think the title is done. Our job between now and the end of the season is to keep pushing until the end, but I think it will be very difficult.

"We will never give up. But the title is far from us; it's not in our hands. I think City are deserving, their consistency has put them in that position. Of course, we will go to the end, but I don't think the title will be going to us this year."

Be it mind games or Hayes truly thinking her team was that far off, her words lit something in Chelsea. Their following two performances showed the team’s determination to have a shot at some silverware.

As for Saturday's schedule, Hayes believes her team is facing the "tougher of the two games."

"It's a fitting finale for me, being my final game," she told BBC Sport. "As I said to the players if someone gives you a second chance in life, make sure you don't need a third one. We're in the position we want to be in, and we'll give it everything on Saturday no matter what."

Arsenal Women's Football Club (Arsenal WFC) announced early Tuesday that they will play 11 matches at Emirates next season, making the North London Premiere League hub their official home.  

A total of eight Barclays Women's Super League (WSL) games are to be played inside Emirates, as well as three UWCL fixtures, should the team qualify for the Champions League. And if they reach the Champions League knockout rounds, those games would also be also played at Emirates.

The team’s other regular season matches — including domestic cup games — will be played at Meadow Park, the team’s longstanding home pitch in Borehamwood. 

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The news follows Monday’s announcement that the club would part ways with star striker Vivianne Miedema at the end of the 2023/24 season.

"There’s great passion for our women’s team right across our club," said Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar in a statement. "We are one club, with a vision to win major trophies across our men’s and women’s teams. This move supports this ambition and we can’t wait to continue this amazing journey with our supporters." 

"The next step in our journey is to make Emirates Stadium our main home for Arsenal women," AFC chief executive Vinai Venkatesham said. "We're looking forward to giving more supporters the chance to watch our women's team play. This is part of a collective drive across the club to take the women's game forward and support sustainable growth of the game so it can thrive in the long term."

This past season, Arsenal WFC hosted six WSL matches at Emirates, drawing an average crowd of 52,029 ticket-holders, selling out the stadium twice, and setting three WSL attendance records along the way. They currently hold the domestic attendance record for a WSL game, with 60,160 fans turning out to see the home side defeat Manchester United in February

The WSL's previous attendance record was also held by Arsenal, with their December win over Chelsea drawing 59,042 fans. 

"To everyone who has followed us so far, thank you. You have played a key part in our progress and growth, helping us write this story," said head coach Jonas Eidevall. "Next season, Emirates Stadium becomes our main home and we're all excited to play in front of bigger crowds every week. We can’t wait to see you all there."

WSL star Vivianne Miedema will be leaving Arsenal at the end of the season, she announced on social media Monday.

In a video posted to Arsenal's main Instagram page, the Dutch striker said that it was time for her seven-year journey with the club to come to an end.

"To have represented a club like this, with so much history and tradition, has been an absolute honor,” she said. "So above all else, I would like to say thank you for making this chapter of my life so memorable."

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Widely regarded as one of the best forwards in the world, Miedema has been dealing with an ongoing ACL injury over the past two seasons, an issue that kept her out of last summer’s Women's World Cup. In her personal farewell post, the former Gunner said rupturing her ACL has been "one of the toughest things I’ve had to go through in my career," noting that her Arsenal teammates’ support was "something I’ll always remember."

Even still, she said, "it’s time to move on." Miedema joined the Gunners in 2017 from Bayern Munich, scoring 125 goals and providing 50 assists over 172 appearances. She was the WSL’s top scorer in 2018-19, setting the all-time record with 78 goals as she helped Arsenal win the league title for the first time in seven years. 

Miedema took home a second Golden Boot for her efforts during the 2019-2020 season. Her six-goal outing against Bristol City in 2019 still counts as the most goals scored by an individual player in a single match in WSL history. In March 2022, she became the first player in WSL history to reach 100 goal involvements, and remains the league's all-time leading scorer.

Sources have said that head coach Jonas Eidevall's side opted not to offer Miedema a new contract for the upcoming season.

"On behalf of everyone at the club, we thank Viv for her huge contribution towards the success of the team during her seven years with us," said Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar in a team statement. "Viv’s goals and overall performances as an Arsenal player have been of the highest quality, and she has created so many wonderful memories for us over the years. We wish Viv and her family the best of health and happiness for the future."

Several hours after the news broke Monday morning, ESPN reported that Manchester City was interested in signing the 27-year-old, pegging City as her "most likely destination." Neither club has confirmed the reports.

Chelsea began Sunday with their WSL title hopes a distant dream... before closing out the weekend right back in the thick of the title chase.

The Blues made a last-ditch effort to claim their fifth consecutive Barclays WSL title on Sunday with an 8-0 win over relegation-bound Bristol City. The victory came after a visiting Arsenal upset current table-toppers Manchester City at Joie Stadium, besting the home side 2-1 on back-to-back goals from Stina Blackstenius. With the win, the third-place Gunners re-opened the door for Chelsea to finish level at the top of the table on points.

Chelsea remains second in the standing, with 49 points to Manchester City's 52. But the barrage of goalscoring over the weekend could be enough to overtake City's potential tiebreak advantage in goal differential, leaving even coach Emma Hayes in awe.

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Chelsea holds a game in hand, but the Blues will need to win their May 15th match against Tottenham to give them a shot at the title. Should they take all three points, the title race will come down to the final weekend, when Chelsea squares off with Manchester United while City faces Aston Villa on Saturday, May 18th. 

Set to take over the USWNT in June, Hayes acknowledged the likelihood of finishing out her time at Chelsea with zero trophies, after losing in both the Conti Cup final and UWCL semifinal last month. But for now, her initial pessimism has subsided.

"Let me be clear, it's not f*****g over," Hayes said after coaching her last home match with Chelsea on Sunday. "There's no time for sentimentality, all work drinks are canceled. There's a title to be won.

"This group of players taught me something so special this week — that you never ever give up."

Kristie Mewis is enjoying her time so far in the Women’s Super League. 

In an interview with Betway, Mewis called it a “dream” to get to play in England. And even though she’s been sidelined with an injury since Feb. 18, she’s relishing the opportunity to play in the WSL. 

“It has been amazing,” she said. “It's been a dream of mine to play in England, so I'm happy to be here and to be part of a great club. I'm excited to be here and hopefully I can get out on the pitch.”

Mewis has spent a lot of time playing in leagues around the world, having also played for Bayern Munich in Germany, Canberra United in Australia and Iga FC Kunoichi in Japan. 

As debate continues about different women’s soccer leagues around the world – and how the NWSL stacks up – Mewis notes that the NWSL is more “transitional” than the WSL. The ball, she says, is more controlled in the WSL. But that doesn’t mean that either league is better than the other. Instead, the focuses are just different.

“I think they are different in terms of the games being transitional and a bit more athletic in America,” she said. “It's more athlete driven in the US, but here there's a bigger concentration on looking after the ball, keeping possession and more tactical. It's not a huge difference, but I think that would be the slight difference between the two leagues from my experience.”

After being named to last summer’s USWNT World Cup roster, Mewis says her Olympics status is still up in the air.

“I'm not sure because of the injury right now. But I'll try to get back out on the field and see if I can prove myself for it,” she said. “It's very up in the air right now, but we'll see if I can make it.”

Even still, she’s excited to see what new coach Emma Hayes is going to bring to the squad. She’s no stranger to the Chelsea manager. Hayes has coached Mewis’ partner Sam Kerr at Chelsea since 2020.

“I think she's going to do an amazing job with the team, I think she's just going to bring her knowledge. All the reasons she's been a successful coach are the exact reasons why the US needs her,” she said.

“She is a really good player-manager, she's so intelligent and reads the games so well. I've watched a lot of the games she's coached in, and you can see she's an incredible leader and I think all the girls will look up to her, so it's going to be interesting to see.” 

Arsenal’s sellout of Emirates Stadium on Sunday has brought its average attendance higher than that of 10 Premier League teams. 

The game was a win over rivals Tottenham, and brought the club’s average attendance this season to 34,997. In total, they’ve brought in over 279,000 fans to watch the team this season, selling out Emirates three different times. 

"I was thinking about a quote from Dennis Bergkamp when he said you don't support a team only for a player, or only for history, or only for trophies, you go and support a team because that's where you found an environment where you think you belong," said Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall said when asked about the crowd.

"And that's what makes me extremely proud to be able to say that I think we have found a place where more than 60,000 people feel that they belong. They feel that this is their home, this is where they want to come and support their football team. That is very special and that is something we need to keep very very much alive and keep building on. But, that's a special feeling that we have been able to create that together."

The average attendance so far this season also marks a 63% increase on total ticket sales from the team’s 11 home WSL matches last season. 

They’re set to play a match against Leicester on April 20 or 21 also at Emirates, having already played five of their eight WSL home games at the stadium. 

"I'm so happy that they've put one more game at the Emirates -- it would have been really sad to sit here and say that this was the last time we were going to the Emirates this season," Eidevall said. "We are looking forward very much to that and I hope our fans are as well. There is a lot of time for that game so hopefully the tickets sell fast."